What to consider when choosing your ERP

At Stock2Shop we get a lot of requests for advice on how to choose an accounting system. To be clear – this is something we do not do. While we can indicate which systems “play nicely” with our integration middleware, we leave ERP consulting to, well, ERP consultants. However, below are a few highlevel pointers to consider when making the deep financial dive into a new accounting system.

Do a cost benefit analysis

First, make a list of functionality that you absolutely need in your ERP system in order to streamline your existing business processes, then make a separate list of nice-to-haves. Keep this info at hand when interrogating potential software to find out the most cost effective option that will fulfill your needs. Examples of requirements that some of our clients have are bill of materials, multi warehousing, contract pricing and cloud access.

“If you get one thing right, make it the up-front requirements gathering process,” says Brian Shannon in this Computerworld article. ” Few things derail project budgets and timelines as the ‘assumptive’ or absent requirements.” Once you have implemented your new system, it is also important to track it’s performance against predetermined metrics in order to evaluate the success of the project.

Ensure compatibility with other software

It probably comes as no surprise to find this on our list, but these days it is vital that your ERP can integrate with other systems fairly seamlessly. Look out for systems that require extensive customisation. Not only can this incur unwelcome costs, it also makes it harder to migrate or upgrade in the future without losing these customisations.

Inefficient business workflows that necessitate unnecessary duplicate data capturing, for example, can result in human error and the sapping of your human resources. This is why Stock2Shop exists.

Choose an ERP with your staff in mind

Your ERP is supposed to make it easier to manage your business. It’s therefore imperative to buy software that your team will be able to use effectively. If key members of your staff have experience in a particular system, this could sway your decision provided that it meets your base requirements. If one of the packages you’re considering appears to be overly complicated and likely to create more problems than it solves, perhaps give that one a miss.

Appoint an internal ERP champion

A person (or team) should be designated the responsibility of managing your accounting software, and this is particularly important when it comes to the syncing of data between your systems.

Integrations almost always rely on a degree of customisation such as added fields, bespoke logic and the existence of certain business objects in order to function properly. Whoever is tasked with managing these integrations needs to be familiar with the mechanisms required to facilitate the syncing of data correctly. By appointing a specific person (or team) to be in charge, it’s easier to ensure that workflows are consistently followed and sync issues are addressed timeously.

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